Thursday, May 2, 2013

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - Paulo Coelho, from “The Alchemist”

May 3rd is fast approaching and after 3 weeks, I was still chasing down an elusive electrical problem.  A train would travel along the layout and the system would shut down via the internal breaker inside the command station.  Current draw at the point of shutdown was less than 1 amp, and the 3 Powershield circuit breakers weren't tripping.  Between this and the other things going on with me (2 important work related events, and the NJ Pro Rail meet, which I helped out with) it was looking like I wouldn't be able to have trains running for the open house.

After exhausting every possible cause I could think of, I sent out an SOS to the group.  We came to the conclusion that it could be a problem with the command station.  To find out for sure, some of the guys came down Tuesday night and both Ralph Heiss, and Craig Bisgeier brought along their NCE command stations to hook up to my layout.  First Craig went over the whole layout checking connections with his multimeter. Then we tried using both of the command stations, first Ralph's, then Craig's, and they worked fine.  We all agreed it was safe to say my NCE unit had issues and that it would need to be fixed.  I'll be mailing it out this week.

In the meantime, Craig told me the unit he brought over was a spare so he left it with me so I can have the layout operational for the open house.  Though I'm not happy that my NCE command station has a problem, I'm glad to know that the problems wasn't a result of my wiring.  

With the help of my friends I got past this problem and I'm another step closer to achieving my goal of having a operating layout before the summer!

The crew- Tom Callan, Ralph Heiss, Craig Bisgeier, and Neil Henning.  Tom and Neil took care of a few minor track issues for me while Craig and I worked on the electrical problem.  Ralph provided comic relief and moral support. :p

Meanwhile, all this talk of open houses, and the big push to get the layout ready has peaked Amy's curiosity and interest in what I'm doing in the basement.  She came downstairs last night and I showed her how to run some trains.  She was all excited as she took #6 along with a few freight cars across the layout.  This, along with her accompanying me to a few of the other layouts two weeks ago,  has given her a new appreciation for my hobby.  :)  Now if I could only get her to stop calling the trains choo choos...

Except for a tendency towards excessive speed, she did pretty good handling a train. ;)